My name is Vicki Tesoro and I am a Democratic member of the Trumbull Town Council representing District 3. However, I am not writing this letter as an elected official but as a parent and former PTA President.
My comments are out of concern and ire over the baseless and unsubstantiated Ethics complaint filed by the Town against dedicated and hardworking individuals associated with the Board of Education: BOE Chairmen: Steven Wright, Plant Administrator Steven Kennedy, and retired Superintendent Ralph Iassogna. It should be emphasized that this complaint was recently unanimously and totally dismissed by the Ethics Board!
Mr. Wright has been the consummate Board member, has served on the Connecticut State Board of Education for the past 3 years, and has contributed so much to enrich the education of Trumbull and Connecticut students. Mr. Kennedy is a career civil servant who has done an outstanding job in overseeing the daily operation of the Board’s custodial/maintenance department.
I want to specifically address the complaint with regard to the Superintendent.
I want to thank outgoing Superintendant Ralph Iassogna for his decades of service to our Community. I was pleased to attend his retirement dinner and to hear our First Selectman praise Mr. Iassogna and declare “Ralph Iassogna Day” before over 300 attendees. No one deserves accolades more than Mr. Iassogna. Our school system, under his leadership, has achieved above average results at a below average per pupil cost and has won praise for both our athletic and academic teams.
This well deserved recognition for his long service and outstanding results was marred by having him named in an Ethics complaint filed by our Town the morning after his retirement dinner where the First Selectman praised him so effusively. What kind of nonsense was this! The good news is that the complaint, according to news reports, was totally dismissed outright by our Ethics Commission; however, in my mind the damage was already done. That damage was to Mr. Iassogna’s reputation and to the wallets of each and every taxpayer.
I resent the fact that some of my tax dollars will be spent on lawyers preparing and defending these complaints. Trumbull residents should be shocked and outraged by the behavior of those who would throw around baseless ethics charges against a man who has dedicated his career to the betterment of the Trumbull Public Schools. What a waste of taxpayer funds as well as the time of so many involved. There must be a better way to handle these situations instead of attempting to destroy reputations.
The ramifications of these ill conceived ethics complaints will reverberate beyond the impact on those involved. How will Trumbull be able to attract and retain talented employees if they see fellow employees being the subject of frivolous complaints? How do these complaints reflect on our Community and our elected officials when the complaints are quickly and decisively dismissed? It seems to me that not only are taxpayer’s wallets lighter as a result of this but our Community reputation suffered as well.
I want to wish Mr. Iassogna the very best as he begins his well deserved retirement. He should know that he has the thanks of countless Trumbull citizens for his dedicated service and that he will be remembered for his many accomplishments.